What a seemingly simple but profound word….respect.

 Only 7 short letters long, it can say more in 2 syllables than most would imagine.

 Let’s look at the true definition of respect for a moment:

From Dictionary.com
1.            A particular, detail, or point (usually preceded by in): to differ in some respect.
2.            Relation or reference: inquiries with respect to a route.
3.            Esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or 
something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for 
her  judgment.
4.            Deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to 
have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a 
suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
5.            The condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.

 If you will notice the definitions, all of them refer to abstract ideas – you cannot hold respect in the palm of your hand for example.  You cannot touch respect, you cannot taste respect and you cannot smell respect.  But you can see respect, you can speak respect and you can hear respect.  You can point to something and say “that is respect”.

But because it is an idea, different people may look at the same something and come to different conclusions on if it is respect or not because it is not a simple fact that can be quantified.

Let’s go further.

How does one go about gaining respect?  By being trustworthy?  Punctual?  Elderly?  Honest?  Heroic?

What about learning respect?  How does one learn respect?

Do you learn it from your parents?  Teachers?  Boss?  Mentor?  Friend?  Coworker?  Police Officer?

Is it one lesson at a certain age and then done or many lessons over the course of a lifetime?

By now, most of you are saying and nodding your head yes to everything listed above.  And you would be right – it is everything I have listed above and more – much, much more.

The same ideas and concepts are accurate for the opposite as well – disrespect.

Right now, our household is learning and relearning what we all thought we believed we knew about the word “respect”.

Hun is learning, Rowdy is learning, I am learning and we’ve even brought Jetsam into the classroom and she is learning as well.  By extension of our actions and ideas, the other kids are learning from our trials and errors.

I cannot speak for the others regarding what they are learning.  The biggest thing I am learning is that respect means more to me than I ever considered before.  That, for me, respect is the root of so many things – love, kindness, honesty, and more.

How can I love someone if I do not respect them?  Let me tell you – it is hard!

I can be kind to someone without respecting them, but it is so much easier if I do respect them.

I cannot trust someone who is not honest with me – they will lose my respect.

As I’m learning these things, I’m also learning to respect myself.  To respect my own opinions, feelings and strengths.  To respect what I want out of life, without apology.  And that my hopes, dreams and goals are worthy to be respected by others.

What does respect mean to you?